Would you allow your children to attend church?

marshalltenbears
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Would you allow your children to attend church?

Being a brand new father I know I will probably experience this down the road. But as an atheist, would you allow your children to attend church if they wanted to?

 

"Take all the heads of the people
and hang them up before the Lord
against the sun.” -- Numbers 25:4


Hambydammit
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 DISCLAIMER:  I don't have

 DISCLAIMER:  I don't have children, but I am far, far from ignorant on the matter.

Were I to have children, by the time they became old enough to make their own decision regarding church, they'd have already learned enough critical thinking skills, evolution, and logic to be able to make an informed decision about religion.  That's another way of saying I wouldn't let the Christian nutters next door take my seven year old to Vacation Bible School.  Children are not ready to think about religion until they're old enough to be able to tell fantasy from reality and solve basic logic problems on their own.  More importantly, they're not ready to think about religion until they've learned that the world can be explained without it.  They don't necessarily need to know how the Big Bang happened, but knowing that scientists can answer all those questions with enough study... that's the big point.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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marshalltenbears
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 I agree for the most part.

 I agree for the most part. I think my kids are going to have to be at a certain mental maturity before I let them attend a church. But once they reach that level I don't think I would force my beliefs on them. 

"Take all the heads of the people
and hang them up before the Lord
against the sun.” -- Numbers 25:4


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Nope. I would instill in my

Nope. I would instill in my children open-mindedness and freedom of choice, but I think children are impressionable and churches are designed specifically to brainwash people. Assuming that it would be my child's choice and that the overbearing influence of the church would have no bearing on his or her true "beliefs" is absurd. I believe the entire institution of Christianity (or any other religion) is delusional, and I don't want to encourage my child to abandon their reasoning and critical thinking abilities, in learning something that has no benefit to our reality. We're born atheist so I don't think I'm forcing my child to be something they're not. When my children are old enough to make informed decisions, they can believe anything they want and go to church all they want.

You have to understand, it's not like they're requesting to go to camp or something. Every church teaches false information and tries to shape its members' realities to this bad information. My children are going to have a firm grasp of history, science, and PEOPLE, before I'd even consider it. Despite how intelligent, motivated, or mature they might seem - you really do see life differently as an adult.


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Its my job to teach my

Its my job to teach my children rational perspective...so if there is a friend or a family member or a loved one that is holding a function inside a church, and we would attend if it were in a party hall...then sure, I would allow them to attend...I don't think that listening to the incoherant mumblings of theocratic bullshit for an hour is going to turn them into mindless zombies.

My gelatinous, quadruple chinned beheamoth of an ex-wife has tried to ram religion down my children's throats for their entire lives...my son is a 14 year old agnostic anyway.

What a great kid.


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First of all,

First of all, congratulations. 

If I do end up having kids or adopting, I always thought I might replace Sunday church services with say trips to the museum of natural sciences, art museum, etc. If I'm going to be spending 10% of my pay check on something I figure I may as well get my money's worth. 

What do you think you're going to do?

"Do not, as some ungracious pastors do, show me the steep and thorny way to heaven. Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine, himself the primrose path of dalliance treads. And recks not his own rede."


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cervello_marcio wrote:First

cervello_marcio wrote:

First of all, congratulations. 

If I do end up having kids or adopting, I always thought I might replace Sunday church services with say trips to the museum of natural sciences, art museum, etc. If I'm going to be spending 10% of my pay check on something I figure I may as well get my money's worth. 

What do you think you're going to do?

If you actually have the time and conviction of doing that on a regular basis that would be quite impressive, and I'm sure he'd think you for it later.


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The Flying Spaghetti Monster

The Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote:

If you actually have the time and conviction of doing that on a regular basis that would be quite impressive, and I'm sure he'd think you for it later.

We've got a lot of great museums right in my area so it would be a real shame if I didn't expose my kid to them. It wouldn't always have to be like that though, I'm sure mixing in trips to the library or even a nice park would yield comparable results.

"Do not, as some ungracious pastors do, show me the steep and thorny way to heaven. Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine, himself the primrose path of dalliance treads. And recks not his own rede."


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cervello_marcio wrote:The

cervello_marcio wrote:

The Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote:

If you actually have the time and conviction of doing that on a regular basis that would be quite impressive, and I'm sure he'd think you for it later.

We've got a lot of great museums right in my area so it would be a real shame if I didn't expose my kid to them. It wouldn't always have to be like that though, I'm sure mixing in trips to the library or even a nice park would yield comparable results.

Oh, it's not the availability that I question...people just have a tendency of making such claims but then not following through because of work or laziness. I wouldn't hold it against you either way, just making the comment that if you literally went out of your way every Sunday (just like Christians do to go to church) to do some interactive activity like that with your kid, it would be impressive.


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 FSM wrote:people just have

 

FSM wrote:

people just have a tendency of making such claims but then not following through because of work or laziness.

You're absolutely right. Thankfully, if one Sunday I decide to sleep in as opposed to going to the museum I won't burn for eternity. 

"Do not, as some ungracious pastors do, show me the steep and thorny way to heaven. Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine, himself the primrose path of dalliance treads. And recks not his own rede."


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 I get really annoyed when

 I get really annoyed when asked "How am I going to raise my child?" (meaning what religion). I just tell them "like a deccent human being."  

"Take all the heads of the people
and hang them up before the Lord
against the sun.” -- Numbers 25:4


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Nope

My ex wife wanted our two boys to go to church. I did let them go a few times with her. Then I went and watched the kids all singing songs of wanting to grow up and go on missions. They were never allowed to go back. It wasn't just that one song, but the brain washing going on in general that was horrifying to see in actual practice.

Let me warn you though that this issue can be easy to work out with a spouse in therory years before it's an issue, but when the actual time comes can get very difficult to deal with.

Respectfully,
Lenny

"The righteous rise, With burning eyes, Of hatred and ill-will
Madmen fed on fear and lies, To beat and burn and kill"
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I think the thing that

I think the thing that worries me the most is when her friends invite her to go and my wife will look at it as a social thing more than a religious experience, but I know first hand what you go through when it is your first time in a church. Especially if they find out you are not saved. That is when the real brainwashing will begin. I'm afraid I will have to be the "bad guy" on that issue and put my foot down and say NO. 

 

"Take all the heads of the people
and hang them up before the Lord
against the sun.” -- Numbers 25:4


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marshalltenbears wrote:Being

marshalltenbears wrote:

Being a brand new father I know I will probably experience this down the road. But as an atheist, would you allow your children to attend church if they wanted to?

Yes. 

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Sure, why not? If they

Sure, why not? If they really wanted to I can't stop them, and it wouldn't be right to either, it would only make them that much more curious. I'd obviously talk to them afterwards about it and guide them through the thinking process.

If children have atheist parents who don't push it on their kids (just as other parents shouldn't push religion), but are there to talk and provide their opinions, it's safe to say the kid will figure it out eventually. Especially if, like Hamby said, they're being taught the real deal.

*Our world is far more complex than the rigid structure we want to assign to it, and we will probably never fully understand it.*

"Those believers who are sophisticated enough to understand the paradox have found exciting ways to bend logic into pretzel shapes in order to defend the indefensible." - Hamby


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The Flying Spaghetti Monster

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Nope. I would instill in my children open-mindedness and freedom of choice.

Oh, the irony of your sentence.

No offense, I agree with your views, I just think that intelligent kids come from parents who are WILLING to let them discover it for themselves, not shield them from what's out there. Because sooner or later, those kids WILL have to face religion, including street preachers, Jehovas Witnesses, pushy friends, what have you.

You see life differently as an adult, sure, because of EXPERIENCE. Thing is, if you don't let a curious child experience something, they'll find a way to anyway. I'd rather let them go and talk to them afterwards instead of forbidding it outright so they can sneak off with their friends to defy me. That's not open-mindedness, it's pushiness, no matter how much I dislike churches.

That being said, I wouldn't let them go off with the crazy next door neighbors. I'd make sure, like with any activity they did, they were with someone I could trust.

*Our world is far more complex than the rigid structure we want to assign to it, and we will probably never fully understand it.*

"Those believers who are sophisticated enough to understand the paradox have found exciting ways to bend logic into pretzel shapes in order to defend the indefensible." - Hamby


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marshalltenbears wrote: I

marshalltenbears wrote:

 I get really annoyed when asked "How am I going to raise my child?" (meaning what religion). I just tell them "like a deccent human being."  

Love it.

*Our world is far more complex than the rigid structure we want to assign to it, and we will probably never fully understand it.*

"Those believers who are sophisticated enough to understand the paradox have found exciting ways to bend logic into pretzel shapes in order to defend the indefensible." - Hamby


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:3

I would force my kids to go to church.

 

Not just one. All of them I could find.

 

 

 

Get them healthy and exposed to what they have to face. Like throwing them in a pool to teach them to swim.

Theism is why we can't have nice things.


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peppermint wrote:The Flying

peppermint wrote:

The Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote:

Nope. I would instill in my children open-mindedness and freedom of choice.

Oh, the irony of your sentence.

No offense, I agree with your views, I just think that intelligent kids come from parents who are WILLING to let them discover it for themselves, not shield them from what's out there. Because sooner or later, those kids WILL have to face religion, including street preachers, Jehovas Witnesses, pushy friends, what have you.

You see life differently as an adult, sure, because of EXPERIENCE. Thing is, if you don't let a curious child experience something, they'll find a way to anyway. I'd rather let them go and talk to them afterwards instead of forbidding it outright so they can sneak off with their friends to defy me. That's not open-mindedness, it's pushiness, no matter how much I dislike churches.

That being said, I wouldn't let them go off with the crazy next door neighbors. I'd make sure, like with any activity they did, they were with someone I could trust.

I didn't say I would shield them from religion, I said I wouldn't let them go to church, where the only intention is to deliberately warp their minds. They can study any and every religion all they want, or read any bible they want from the moment they're able to read. Now I understand your point, perhaps my kids and I could go to a few churches together to let them soak in the experience, but I see no good in allowing them to go by themselves (especially on a regular basis). If they went, hypothetically, every Sunday, do you realize how much bullshit would be absorbed into the brains? Church doesn't just teach the bible (if it did I honestly wouldn't have a problem letting them go), it tells people how to run their lives and defines their reality. Sorry, not happening.

Also, it's not exactly open-mindedness allowing someone to participate in something that intentionally destroys open-mindedness. You can hope your kids apply their critical thinking skills well enough to not get sucked in, but I don't see the point of taking the chance.


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ClockCat wrote:I would force

ClockCat wrote:

I would force my kids to go to church.

 

Not just one. All of them I could find.

Churchs? or your children?

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marshalltenbears wrote:
Being a brand new father I know I will probably experience this down the road. But as an atheist, would you allow your children to attend church if they wanted to?

Why would they want to? Children do not come by such desires on their own. Other adults influencing them is something you can stop. The police do not take kindly to unrelated adults getting children alone -- they get very suspicious of a possible child molester. So it is easy to stop anyone who won't stop when you tell them to.

If they get the urge at thirteen to impress a girl there isn't to much you can do about it but there is no reason to help out. Talking about the nonsense when they get home from the viewpoint of "the only reason you are going is" should deal with that. I only have a son.

About 16 or so they are going to do damn well anything they want so don't make it a rebellion issue by saying no.

Bottom line was atheism and "that nonsense" never wavered.

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ClockCat wrote:I would force

ClockCat wrote:

I would force my kids to go to church.

 

Not just one. All of them I could find.

 

 

 

Get them healthy and exposed to what they have to face. Like throwing them in a pool to teach them to swim.

I liked that response!

Sure. If the kid(s) wanted to be bored to death. Fine.

Despite that, I would be interested in what they were told, and make a point of presenting them with an appropriate interpretation
of the subject matter.


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treat2 wrote:ClockCat

treat2 wrote:
ClockCat wrote:

I would force my kids to go to church.

 

Not just one. All of them I could find.

 

 

 

Get them healthy and exposed to what they have to face. Like throwing them in a pool to teach them to swim.

I liked that response! Sure. If the kid(s) wanted to be bored to death. Fine. Despite that, I would be interested in what they were told, and make a point of presenting them with an appropriate interpretation of the subject matter.

Exactly, probably the main reason I left religion is that it was extremely boring and I can't tolerate boredom - it is worse than pain. So when I was old enough to think for myself I simply had no warm and fuzzy feelings about church to cling to, and if there's no feelings of that kind, then brain does not rationalize the bullshit.


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Where I take my son

I think your kids may ask to go before they can really make an informed decision. It's usually about the time they start school and all their friends are going to church. 

I was raised in the UU (Unitarian Universalist) church by my parents who are atheists and that is where I'm taking my son. (I made sure I didn't marry a christian, too, made it much easier). At most UU gives them an intro to all the religions without asking them to believe in any of them.


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Teach you child to question

If you teach your child to question everything then if they are invited to a church, they will ask questions the church just can't answer

I know one girl that went to her cousins' church and asked questions. The church ended up closing down within a few months. And she didn't do this just once but 3 times (3 different churches) before she was 10. Her cousins wont allow her to go to church with them any more.


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Don't doubt the cognitive

Don't doubt the cognitive abilities of children. A trip to church with their friends can be a great opportunity for them to use the critical thinking skills you've taught them.

It was a combination of getting sick of going to Hebrew school and my parent's lax insistence that I did (and freethinking nature) that drove me to atheism. Letting a child figure it out on their own and experience the thinking processes that go into debunking religious claims is something you can do WITH them.

Also, not every church is out to recruit and save. My mom went to church with her friend as a kid a few times and didn't think one way or the other about it. It's not something I'd let my kids do all the time, but it's not necessarily going to BRAINWASH THEM immediately. Kids may be impressionable, but if educated correctly, they're not totally gullible.

 

*Our world is far more complex than the rigid structure we want to assign to it, and we will probably never fully understand it.*

"Those believers who are sophisticated enough to understand the paradox have found exciting ways to bend logic into pretzel shapes in order to defend the indefensible." - Hamby


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I'd take my children to

I'd take my children to church myself.  Then, if anybody would want to talk to them (assuming I have more than one) I'm there to referee and provide moral support.  Going to church for a kid who's not a Christian is like deliberately exposing yourself to enemy fire.  If you don't have the conceptual strength of decent reasoning skills, children normally don't, or have someone who does to intercede for you, you're going to get burned.

So, I suppose the most accurate answer would be that I wouldn't let them go without me.


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peppermint wrote:Don't doubt

peppermint wrote:

Don't doubt the cognitive abilities of children. A trip to church with their friends can be a great opportunity for them to use the critical thinking skills you've taught them.

It was a combination of getting sick of going to Hebrew school and my parent's lax insistence that I did (and freethinking nature) that drove me to atheism. Letting a child figure it out on their own and experience the thinking processes that go into debunking religious claims is something you can do WITH them.

Also, not every church is out to recruit and save. My mom went to church with her friend as a kid a few times and didn't think one way or the other about it. It's not something I'd let my kids do all the time, but it's not necessarily going to BRAINWASH THEM immediately. Kids may be impressionable, but if educated correctly, they're not totally gullible.

 

Considering I was almost fully mature at like...seven years old, I don't doubt a child's abilities :3

And yeah, it was religion that drove me into Atheism for the same reason, but what you have to understand is we're born Atheist. If you meet a kid from a secular upbringing who didn't necessarily have religious nor atheistic influence, he's still an atheist. He might not be as much of an activist, hold an opinion on religion, or speak on the subject as much as you and I on a message board like this, but that person could be just as rational, if not more, than us.

Churches on the East Coast (I'm assuming that's where your mom went) probably operate differently than where I grew up. I was raised in Texas, and I can tell you there's nothing educational about watching people speak in tongues and run circles around the church (sadly, not joking). I've been to churches that weren't so extreme and I get your point, but I still think constant influence (as in every sunday) at a church is bad for anyone who wants to maintain a rational, unattached frame of mind.


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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

 DISCLAIMER:  I don't have children, but I am far, far from ignorant on the matter.

Were I to have children, by the time they became old enough to make their own decision regarding church, they'd have already learned enough critical thinking skills, evolution, and logic to be able to make an informed decision about religion.  That's another way of saying I wouldn't let the Christian nutters next door take my seven year old to Vacation Bible School.  Children are not ready to think about religion until they're old enough to be able to tell fantasy from reality and solve basic logic problems on their own.  More importantly, they're not ready to think about religion until they've learned that the world can be explained without it.  They don't necessarily need to know how the Big Bang happened, but knowing that scientists can answer all those questions with enough study... that's the big point.

 

 

I can basically go with that, except that my wife is a Buddhist. So they will be permitted to attend a Buddhist temple, as I don't see it as a religion in the sense of the Abrahamic religions.

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marshalltenbears wrote:I

No kids here either, but I use to be a kid full-time for several years, so I can talk from experience.

marshalltenbears wrote:

I think the thing that worries me the most is when her friends invite her to go and my wife will look at it as a social thing more than a religious experience, but I know first hand what you go through when it is your first time in a church. Especially if they find out you are not saved. That is when the real brainwashing will begin. I'm afraid I will have to be the "bad guy" on that issue and put my foot down and say NO.

True belief takes strength of spirit and resolve and will not come as a consequence of group-think, but rather the opposite. If your kid develops just one of the traits, you are a proud parent.

The seeking-for-something preudo religiosity is really your incompetence at providing a role model combined with the Church of Me that we attend every second of every hour of every day of our lives. No reason to put your foot down here, just talk to the kid once in a while. It's ok to be the parent and not the best friend here too. Very few kids want the mom from Gilmore girls - too much of nothing.

Lastly, the real heavy-duty-extended-family-and-friends type of pressure is best dispelled by strenghtening the sprit and resolve in your kid. What this means is probably different from kid to kid, but it has a lot to do with you as a role model. If it works out, you might end up a parent of a religious person, but that will be of her own volition.

None of the above calls for any foot-down-putting, so you might want to save that for something a bit more serious, like drunk driving.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.